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Former Oakland Raiders All-Pro punter Shane Lechler retires from NFL

By Connor Grott
Former Oakland Raiders All-Pro punter Shane Lechler retires from NFL
Former Oakland Raiders punter Shane Lechler announced his retirement from the NFL after 18 seasons in the league. File Photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

March 31 (UPI) -- Former Oakland Raiders and Houston Texans punter Shane Lechler is retiring from the NFL after 18 seasons.

Former teammate and Texans defensive star J.J. Watt, along with ex-Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee, announced the news Saturday on social media.

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"A retirement party fit for a GOAT," Watt wrote on Twitter. "The best punter ever & an even better person. Last night was a testament to that as family, friends & teammates flew in from all over to celebrate Lech & his unbelievable career. We'll do it all again when they put that gold jacket on him too!"

Lechler last played for the Texans in 2017. The franchise released the veteran punter in August 2018 and replaced him with Trevor Daniel.

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The Raiders originally drafted Lechler in the fifth round of the 2000 NFL Draft. He made seven Pro Bowls and was named first-team All-Pro six times in his career. He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-2000s team.

Lechler led the NFL in punting average five times and is the league's all-time leader with 47.6 yards per punt. He is second in NFL history in punting yards (68,676), trailing only former New York Giants punter Jeff Feagles.

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McAfee called Lechler a "first-ballot Hall of Famer" on social media.

"Now that it is OFFICIAL.. Congrats to real life punting Shane Lechler on his retirement," McAfee said on Twitter. "7 time pro Bowler.. 9 Time All Pro.. First ballot HOFer in my eyes.. and a genuinely good dude.. I think back to my first year in the league. iPads were just being introduced for film study."

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The Pro Football Hall of Fame currently has only one punter. Former Raiders booter Ray Guy is the lone punter in the Hall of Fame.

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